Bloodsport x Protolabs: Ready for BattleBots Action
It’s almost time to head to the Battlebox! This year, we’re teaming up with Battlebots fan favorites Bots ‘n’ Stuff Robotics, owners of Bloodsport, as they take on fellow competitors in the upcoming season of the fierce bot competition. We chatted with the team to get the lowdown on Bloodsport’s latest upgrades, tactics for tackling bots, and how our digital manufacturing will play a key role this season.
Tell us about the team! What’s your background and how did you all come together to compete in Battlebots?
We’ve been competing in robotics competitions for over a decade! We started as a group of friends from high school who competed in VEX Robotics. Four years ago, after we all graduated, we wanted to take the next step in competitive robotics and Battlebots was that next step.
Tell us about the latest and greatest with Bloodsport. What can fans expect from it this season?
The Bloodsport that we’re bringing this season is our third major revision. Bloodsport v3 is a major overhaul of the first, addressing all of the major issues we faced with the first two versions. We’ve got a more powerful drive, 50% more motor power, brand new “flexlets,” a totally new electrical system, and more. We also hope to bring the character of Bloodsport alive with the addition of some new aesthetic features, like eyes and claws!
What did you learn from last season and what will your new strategy entail?
The past two seasons, the number one reason we lost matches was due to an unreliable weapon system, so we knew that if we wanted to be a top-tier robot, we needed to approach that problem head on. After months of experimentation, we decided the only way we could design a more robust system was to integrate a clutch and place it on top of the robot. This also gave us more room to use much larger motor controllers, which we hope will be more reliable.
Tell us about the parts that we manufactured for Bloodsport.
Protolabs produced some of the more complex and impressive parts of the bot. The entire chassis is built from a single 6061 aircraft grade billet of aluminum, which houses all the motors, electronics, and wheels. Not only does this simplify the construction process for Bloodsport, but it’s also the strongest way to build a chassis. The piece weighs over 70 pounds and is over two feet in either direction. It also features some extremely impressive chamfers and curves, which gives us a cutting edge against other bots. Protolabs also produced the weapon module billet out of 7075 aircraft grade aluminum, which houses the motors and electronics for that system. Just like the chassis, this gives us an extremely tough structure to house these elements.
Any challenges that you’ve run into so far with Bloodsport’s latest upgrades?
The new design moves the weapon module from inside the billet chassis to above the weapon, similar to the legendary BattleBot, IceWave. Changing the design has altered our center of mass, so we’ve had to adjust many things to balance everything accordingly.
How will this year’s new weapon systems help you overcome the bots that Bloodsport has historically struggled against?
Our new weapon system will spin up faster, which has always been an issue for us. It will also hit with more force. And, since the billet chassis is smaller, our weapon will have a longer reach. There are no foreseen downsides to the upgraded weapon systems.
What are you most excited about for the new season of Battlebots?
We have several new members of the team who have brought a lot of specialized skills. And with the field of competitors getting stronger every year, we think putting a strong team together helps our chances of winning the Giant Nut.
Bloodsport x Engineers Without Borders x Protolabs
To kick off our partnership with Bloodsport, we’re taking part in an awesome fundraiser, Bigger than Robots. We’re teaming up with Bots ‘n’ Stuff Robotics and Engineers Without Borders (EWB) to help people around the world achieve their most basic human needs, including water, food, and shelter. For a minimum donation of $20 to EWB, you can have your name printed on the bottom of Bloodsport for the upcoming 2022 season! To contribute to this wonderful cause, Protolabs will match all donations made up to $5,000. Take part in donating today! The fundraiser runs until Oct. 5, 2022. Donate Today.
For the team’s real-time updates, be sure to follow Bots ‘n’ Stuff and Bloodsport on Instagram and Twitter. Come along for the ride with us during our partnership this season with updates on our social channels as well. Much more to come!